Jeptha Homer Wade Jr. (1879-1936) is technically just outside my research area. I work primarily with materials belonging to his father (Jeptha “Homer” Wade II), grandfather (Randall Wade), and great-grandfather (Jeptha H. Wade). [Just to make things easier, we will refer to the topic of today’s blog post as “Jep.”
Jep sometimes gets lost in the historical shuffle because, like his grandfather, he died relatively young–only 57 years old when he died from coronary thrombosis at the family winter home in Thomasville, Georgia–and sadly, though he was married twice, left no children.
There are few living relatives who remember Uncle Jep. He was, if the few bits and pieces that have survived tell an accurate story, a bit of a romantic adventurer. Though he took a day job in the family’s real-estate business after graduating from Yale in 1901, Jep found time to pursue his hobbies. He was an intrepid balloonist and an avid polo-player.
At 38 he signed up as a private in the U.S. Army Ambulance Service serving with the French Army in the Champagne and Ardennes districts. In 1918 he was awarded Croix de Guerre with gold star.
It was also at the age of 38, on September 18, that he was married for the first time. His new wife, Alice, was the widow of fellow Clevelander and Yale classmate, Jay M. Pickands. Jep and Alice were married less than two years, Alice died in January 1819. He didn’t marry again until he was 52 in April 1931. Some family members deemed his second wife unsuitable. Elizabeth Firth, was an actress and family history has it that younger members of the family were forbidden to visit their Uncle’s NYC apartment–some disobeyed.
So today as we approach the Memorial Day weekend, I’m remembering Jep. Though he did not give his life for his country, he did serve and that counts.